2015 Metropolitan and Mid-Major Coach of the Year Jim Engles became the 23rd head coach in the 116-year history of its men’s basketball program in April 2016.
In 2016-17, the Lions won Engles’ Columbia debut at Stony Brook, becoming the first non-conference opponent to defeat the Seawolves at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.
Several players also enjoyed breakout seasons under the direction of Engles. Senior forward Luke Petrasek ’17CC garnered second team All-Ivy League and third team All-Met honors after averaging 15.1 points. First-year point guard Mike Smith set a Columbia rookie scoring record with 368 points and Nate Hickman started all 27 games, averaging 11.8 points, and earning Ivy League Player of the Week honors on November 28.
Engles returned to Columbia after spending eight years as head coach for the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Over his final six seasons at NJIT, Engles compiled a 100-88 record, including back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2014-15 and 2016-17. Prior to leading the Highlanders, Engles served as an assistant coach at Columbia under former head coach Joe Jones from 2003 to 2008.
NJIT had competed at the Division I level for only two seasons when Engles arrived in 2008, and in three years he turned them into a 15-win program. In 2014-15, he directed the Highlanders to a 21-12 record, including an upset
At the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, Engles was named John McLendon National Coach of the Year honors from CollegeInsider.com, received the Peter A. Carlesimo Division I co-Coach of the Year from the Metropolitan Writers Association and was a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year and Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year awards.
In 2015-16, Engles once again led the Highlanders to the semifinals of the CIT, where they faced the eventual champions, Columbia, at Levien Gym last week. His team also finished tied for second place in the America Sun Conference in its first year in the league.
In addition to the tremendous success over the past two years, Engles won a Great West regular season championship and was selected the Great West Conference Coach of the Year in 2012-13. In 2010-11, he picked up a vote for AP National Coach of the Year after NJIT posted a 15-15 record.
The success of Engles’ Highlanders squads culminated with NJIT committing to build a new $100 million Wellness and Events Center and receiving an invitation to join the Atlantic Sun Conference after spending two years without any conference affiliation.
In his first stint with the Lions, Engles helped Joe Jones turn around the Columbia program from a last-place finish in The Ivy League, into a consistent competitor in non-conference and league play, including the first .500 finish in league play since 1992-93.
Prior to joining Columbia as an assistant in 2003, Engles spent the previous six seasons at Rider University, where he was the top assistant coach for the Broncs under Don Harnum, as well as their recruiting coordinator. Rider’s basketball program enjoyed great success with Engles on staff, including winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title during the 2001-02 season and making the school’s first appearance in the postseason NIT in 1998.
Before joining Rider, Engles spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Wagner College. He assisted Tim Capstraw in guiding the Seahawks to the best winning-percentage turnaround in Division I basketball, going from four wins in 1991-92 to 16 in 1992-93. Wagner also recorded the most Division I wins in school history during that
A Staten Island native, from St. Peter’s High School, Engles played college basketball
His grandfather, Ken Engles, was a player and coach at Georgetown University, while his uncle, John Engles, was a high school All-American who went on to play at Penn under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly.